Controversy can promote passion, arguments, reflection, conversations needing to be had. Take the lovely pink haired Deanne Carson and her cameo on our nations TV. Saying what needed to be said and promoting international controversy.
Deanne was talking about creating a culture consent, and this is very much needed in our fast paced culture where children and young adults have access to harmful media and other dangers. She was also talking about creating a culture where we are compassionate, kind, respectful, generous and empathetic towards each other. In other words a fully functioning caring society where everyone is heard and valued.
This message got lost in the sensational headlines and people not understanding the message. Or being afraid this message wouldn't meet their ends. The vitriol Deanne experienced highlights the urgent need for this conversation, for changes to our society. As does the violence perpetrated on our youngest and most vulnerable and young men and women trying to negotiate their adolescence.
It's so easy for the media to extract pieces to make sensational headlines on a quiet news day, they also need a lesson in consent and how to treat people with respect. The pressure of being, in Deanne's words, "given a little bit of information before being rushed into a booth minutes before going to air, cabled up with a mic and earpiece by a really lovely tech guy, and told to stare at the light on top of a very large and intimidating camera" is immense. It's terrifying knowing you're being broadcast live to the nation.
For people working with children, practicing respect and seeking to engage with babies and toddlers through care routines is part of what we do, a natural part as one teacher Elinor shared on a post about Deanne's comments. By the way, in case you're wondering, educators, teachers and leaders were overwhelming supportive of Deanne's intent.
Here's Elinor's comment "I have been fascinated by the response to this. I reflected on my practice which is based on RIE etc. I thought... well I KNOW I am respectful when changing nappies but I don't actually ask permission... funny thing is yesterday when changing nappies I caught myself... I so do ask permission to change their nappies. Not in the weird way it's come across in the article but naturally.
I actually watch my children to see when they are drifting between tasks and... even with the crawling babies... will ask eg... Annie may I please change your nappy, signing nappy to them at the same time. Their response as their eyes light up and they come running / crawling over to me says the lot... they have just given me permission. Through the nappy change they take the lead how the change goes... I tell them... I'm just going to take these pants off for you etc but that's only a small part of it... we chat, play, tease, laugh... and they tell me long complicated stories..."
I suspect reading this many mums and dads will be nodding, that's exactly what they did or do with their little ones. Especially the chat, laugh, play and tease. Peekaboo keeps everyone occupied. That's what Deanne was talking about.
So let's keep talking and supporting each other as we negotiate this society where compassion and joy seem to be suffering. Lets ensure the next generations are able to experience and share empathy, respect, kindness and generosity. Isn't that a society we would all be proud to live within. These building blocks start in the early years.
Here's Deanne's piece via New Matilda.
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